A Year in Words

When I was a teenager, I read an article about author W.P. Kinsella where it said that he wrote 900 words every day. “That can’t take more than an hour or two; some life these professional writers have!” is what I remember thinking at the time.

Then inevitable rejoinder is, “well, why don’t you try it?” And the answer of course is that such output is harder to manage than it sounds. A writer who hit Kinsella’s daily quota would grind out just under 330,000 words over the course of the year—enough for about four novels of respectable length.

It was about a year ago now that I began work on what became my first eBook. So with this nostalgic anniversary on the door step, I thought I would reflect on the past year’s writing totals.

The first draft of 25 Principles clocked in at close to 110,000 words. My Springsteen project currently sits at about 50,000. I have another pot-boiler project that totals 10,000 and since November, I would estimate I have churned out another 10,000 or so in postings for this blog. So my sum total from end of January 2013 to end of January 2014 would be around 180,000.

That sounds impressive, though I doubt that it counts as being prolific output. In the indie publishing world, there are people who claim they grind out 20,000 sometimes as many as 50,000, words in a single week. If I wrote full-time, I think I might hit 20,000 over a very good seven day period; I don’t know how anyone would reach 50,000 without the assistance of methamphetamines.

Still, that 180,000 total feels significant. There is an old writer’s maxim that states that every writer has “a million words of crap” that they have to discharge from their system before they start producing work that can be considered “good.” It’s kind of a variation on Malcolm Gladwell’s idea of the 10,000 hour rule. The figure of one million words isn’t a hard and fast one; some writers contend that the threshold could actually be as low as 693,000.

In any event, I feel like I have served a good chunk of a long apprenticeship now. The past year’s output forms a big part of it, but my training has been underway for far longer. The journey has included hundreds of press releases, endless scrolls of web copy—not to mention the horrible fiction writing attempts of my younger years.

The incremental nature of writing (and getting better at it) is a bit like the old philosophical puzzle of how many grains make a heap. I don’t know exactly what I have right now or what I am moving towards. It probably isn’t mastery but it’s something.

 

The First Post

Everything has to start somewhere. In the words of Rage Against The Machine, “What better place than here? What better time than now?” If you’re a time-traveler from the future looking for clues, here’s where it all begins.

As you can infer from the URL and title, this site exists as an extension of my writing interests. I’m an independent author living in the Canadian hinterland. My big upcoming debut work will be an eBook entitled, 25 Principles of Health and Weight Loss, scheduled for release by the end of November 2013. You can scope out more details about me on the About page if you feel so inclined.

However, these pages are going to be about more than pushing eBooks and providing a venue for experimental tone poems. With the blog, I plan to write on various and sundry topics of interest to me. This will include essays on health and fitness, personal development, and public relations, in addition to shorter news items and humour pieces. Occasionally, I might even throw something up about the indie publishing game.

It’s going to be a big of a piecemeal effort to get the site fully up to speed. Once I’m up and running, I hope to keep a posting frequency of a couple of times per week, but I’m sure there will be both quieter periods when I’m tied up with other things, and prolific times when I get riled up about some topic or another.

That’s about all for right now. This post is more-or-less just a rust-off exercise. Keep reading, as bigger and better things are on the way!